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'Top Gear' (USA) Recap: 'Mammoth Mountain'

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
March 19th, 2013 10:04pm EDT

Top Gear USA

Top Gear likes to go big, and likes to do things the hard way. You had to figure they were going to tackle Mammoth Mountain at some point. Tanner points out that today's SUVs seem to be sorely lacking, and so the three hosts have decided to put them to a serious test: driving from Pismo Beach to the aforementioned mountain. He shows up in a Range Rover, Adam Ferrara gets a Cadillac (because "Adam" and "Cadillac" are always used in the same sentence), and Rutledge Wood rolls up in a Jeep.

After slinging insults and a reference to the Kardashians, the guys race each other to their first pit stop. In Adam's attempt to keep up with Tanner across the sand dunes, he beaches the Cadillac. This may be the quickest he's ever immobilized a vehicle, but it doesn't dampen his spirits in the slightest. Meanwhile, Rutledge decides to take the easier but longer route on proper roads. While Adam yells at slow-moving traffic, Rut beats him to the finish line, and a third-place Tanner realizes that he probably shouldn't have taken that extra time to show off.

Challenge number two is fifteen miles away at a winery, where the guys have to test the ride quality and comfort for their cars by driving a couple to a picnic. Tanner has put together a traditional British menu for his guests, although following the rules of the competition, half of it's on the roof. He seems to have forgotten this, though, by how fast he's driving. Rut has to deal with "The Leaning Tower of Chocolate" on his roof, and it falls over near immediately. When Rut stops to retrieve it, he also decides to sample it (and who can blame him?). Adam has wisely opted to put the plant portion of his cargo on top of the Caddy. By the time the SUVs arrive at their various picnic spots, everything is in disarray, and the guests would rather not repeat the experience. Words like "traumatized," "overbearing" and "terrifying" are used. Ouch. Better luck next time, boys.

Hopefully things will improve the following day...nope, it's raining and Tanner's Range Rover is giving him issues, but that's okay because he wins that time-honored tradition, the Top Gear drag race. Not that it stops the other two from ribbing him. "Eighty-one buttons," Adam quips. "Six of them work." This coming from a guy with more than forty speakers in his car. As he points out, he's driving a cineplex. Something tells me he'd have an awesome selection of movies.

With that behind them, the guys continue their trek to higher elevation, deciding to make the final leg of their journey another race. Unsurprisingly, Tanner has another one of his off-road shortcuts, while Rut likens the city of Mammoth to South Park. He has a point. When he and Adam arrive at the Mammoth Mountain Inn, they're pleased to find that Tanner hasn't arrived, because he's trying to get his Range Rover out of the snow. To cheer him up, his colleagues have gotten him a ridiculous fruity drink.

But it's not time to celebrate just yet. There's one more challenge in front of the SUVs the next morning: racing to the top of the mountain. (Don't miss the skier who wipes out just as Tanner drives by.) The terrain proves to be problematic for everyone, with all three vehicles being halted in their tracks early on. Rutledge decides to abandon the Jeep in favor of a hot breakfast, while his co-hosts have their share of shenanigans, including narrowly missing a flying snowboarder and having to call for a tow. Rut rejoins them via snowmobile just in time for everyone to pile into the Escalade, apparently crowning it the winner (although not according to Tanner). So apparently the country's most stolen vehicle is also suitable for...being hauled up a mountain. That's your Top Gear top tip, folks. Until next week!

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credits: History